Interviews

Published on February 23rd, 2017 | by Jael Williams

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Interview with Jameelah Wilkerson, Publisher and CEO of The Hype Magazine

Jameelah “Just Jay” Wilkerson, CEO and Publisher of “The Hype Magazine”, continues to make a name for herself as one of the leading women in the entertainment industry. The Indiana Native was most recently honored at “The Trailblazer Awards” December 4, 2016, at the Madame Walker Theatre.

Though she is the CEO of her own company, Jameelah prefers to be very “hands-on”, when it comes to the tasks necessary to keep the magazine running smoothly. She showcases her many talents on the back-end of the magazine including; web designing, consulting, and graphic designing.

She launched the magazine in 2002, at the young age of 24. Not only was she considered “too young” to start a company, but it was apparent that she was one of the few women trying to accelerate her career in the midst of a predominately male-run industry. Though it wasn’t always easy, and she wasn’t always taken seriously because of her gender, this never stopped her form excelling in her field.

Why “The Hype”? What does the name stand for?

Jameelah: It stands for How You Perceive Everything. It basically was originated to be more of a literary magazine at first, but then it kinda turned into more of a hip-hop magazine over the years.

What was your dream job as a child?

Jameelah: I wanted to be an attorney. I wanted to be a prosecutor because I felt like I could always figure out who was lying. I also wanted to get the crime out the streets.

What inspired you to start your own company, as opposed to working for a company?

Jameelah: Because I was lazy and I thought that would be the easier way out [laughs], and it actually turned out being one of the hardest things I’ve ever done.

Do you consider yourself to be an unconventional CEO in the industry being that you are a woman?

Jameelah: Very much so. Not just because I’m a woman but because I do things a little bit differently. A lot of people do things by the book. We kinda do things outside of the box. That’s what got us here.

What do you think would be one of the biggest challenges for women trying to start their own business?

Jameelah: The biggest challenge would be to get the male-dominated CEO’s to respect you as a business woman. A lot of the times when you come in as a business woman, they look at you like “who else is with you” or “who else is behind you” . They feel like there has to be some type of a male structure around you for it to be so powerful.

A woman that inspires you the most?

Jameelah: My mother because of her day-to-day. She used to get up when she was tired, and still go to work, and that inspired me a lot.

What is a non- profit cause that you are passionate about?

Jameelah: The homeless. I’m very passionate about the homeless. Simply because people say some people choose it, and some don’t choose it. Sometimes all of us are one step away from being homeless. Even living paycheck to paycheck, people don’t realize that being homeless could mean living with a friend. If you don’t have your own place in which you dwell, you are homeless. There are more homeless people than just what you see on the corner, and I’m very passionate about letting that be known.

 

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